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Bank switching set to be made easier

Bank switching set to be made easier

Category: Banking

Updated: 13/12/2012
First Published: 11/04/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Bank account customers could soon find it even easier to transfer their current accounts following recommendations put forward by the Independent Commission on Banking.

The commission wants high street banks to speed up the time it takes to switch bank current accounts.

It believes that if customers are more willing to change their current accounts, banks would feel greater pressure to offer better products and services.

The report also wants banks to become more transparent, so that customers can make better comparisons between the products available.

This includes making the rate of interest that customers earn on in-credit balances more visible.

While the Government ponders the proposals, the commission suggests that banks could improve their switching service by giving customers a set time in which the transfer is guaranteed to be completed.

In the long term, however, it is suggested that a system is introduced where customers can move their current account to another bank without having to change their account number.

If such a system was implemented, direct debits and standing orders would no longer need to be transferred from their old account.

Many bank customers fail to realise that considerable differences are often apparent between the interest rates, charges and special offers available from different current account providers.

A reluctance to switch current accounts means many people are missing out.

Although the proposed reforms are welcome, changing bank accounts now is not as hard as most people think.

Your new current account provider will contact your old one for a list of your direct debits and standing orders, before asking you to confirm which ones you want to move.

Letting your employer, pension provider and anyone else who pays money into your account know of your new current account details will be about as far as your responsibilities have to go.

The transfer should take no longer than four weeks to complete, while you'll be reimbursed should anything go wrong and you end up out of pocket.

Our bank account best buys include the latest and greatest accounts from all the top providers.

From basic bank accounts through to packaged accounts, there should be something to suit everyone.

">Barclays, Halifax and HSBC are amongst those offering the most basic bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the following accounts all offer something a little bit different:

  • Santander's Preferred-in Credit Account - £100 cashback when you switch,
  • Barclays' Additions Active- Up to £800 of benefits for £15 per month,
  • Nationwide's Flex Account - Free multi-trip European insurance cover, interest-free overdraft for 3 months & no monthly fee,
  • Secure Trust Bank's Prepaid Bank - No credit checks; full bank account with Prepaid Card; hassle free transfer of Direct debits,
  • Natwest/ RBS Current Accounts
Find the best bank account for you - compare bank accounts

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.